A STUDY OF
In Genesis 1:1 the Bible begins with these words: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." The Bible then tells us that God created everything in six days (Genesis 1:2-28; cf. Exodus 20:9-11; see also, WHY THE DAYS OF GENESIS ONE CANNOT BE LONG, INDEFINITE PERIODS OF TIME - An Argument From Exodus 20:8-11). The crown of His creation were the first human beings. Genesis 1:26-28 says,
Notice that "man" ("male and female" are both included) are the only living beings who were created in God's image. This is not said of any of the animals or other created things.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE CREATED IN THE IMAGE OF GOD?
First, we know that this is not talking about physical image because God is not a physical being. He is a spirit being. Jesus said, "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." (John 4:24) Jesus also tells us that because God the Father is a spirit being, He does not have flesh and blood (Matthew 16:17) as a physical being has. So, rather than man being made in the physical image of God, he is made in His spiritual image.
Man was made to be a spiritual (Job 32:8; Daniel 7:15; 1 Corinthians 6:20; 2 Corinthians 4:16; James 2:26), rational (Romans 12:1), emotional (the Bible often speaks of man's emotions of joy, sorrow, fear, hate, love etc...), and volitional (Ephesians 4:24; John 5:39-40; 7:17; Joshua 24:15; Isaiah 7:15) being. In this regard, man is superior to all other life. It's very important, as we study Genesis 3, to understand both the nature of God and man.
No other living being possesses the capabilities, potential, or dignity that God gave to each man and woman. Man (male and female) truly is the crown of God's creation.
"IT WAS VERY GOOD"
After God had finished His creation the Bible says, "Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day" (Genesis 1:31). God's creation was glorious. It was perfect. There was nothing that could be done that would make it better, and God was pleased with it.
When God created the first human beings, He gave them certain responsibilities. Men and women were to dominate the entire Earth. God said, "...let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth" (Genesis 1:26). The word "dominion" is from the Hebrew word radah, which means "to have dominion, rule, subjugate" (Brown-Driver-Briggs' Hebrew Definitions). God further told them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it..." (Genesis 1:28). The word "subdue" is the Hebrew word kabash, which means "to subject, subdue, force, keep under, bring into bondage, make subservient" (Brown-Driver-Briggs' Hebrew Definitions). There is no doubt that man and woman were to use the earth for their good and had the responsibility of ruling over it. One of the great responsibilities was to "fill the earth." They were to have children, and those children were to spread out and live over all the face of the earth. (Notice the consequences of not obeying this command in Genesis 11:1-9 where God Himself had to finally do the job).
Men and women were to glorify God in their daily life (Isaiah 43:7). Their "all" was to serve God faithfully throughout their brief life on this earth (Ecclesiastes 12:13).
GOD GAVE MAN A CHOICE
Since God created man as a being who could choose, He had to give him the means to make choices. This required law. Without law there would be no way for man to exercise his God-given gift of free-choice and to be like God (Romans 4:15; 1 John 3:4).
The first law that was given for man is found in Genesis 2:16 which says: "And Yahweh God commanded the man, saying, 'of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.'" Why did God give man a law that he could violate and by violating that law suffer grave consequences? Because God created man in His image. He created man with the ability to choose. If God had not given this law, Adam and Eve would not have been able to exercise their free-will.
GOD ESTABLISHED THE HOME
God knew that it was not good for the man to be alone so He said, "I will make him a helper comparable to him" (Genesis 2:18). The Bible then says, "Out of the ground Yahweh God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him" (Genesis 2:19-20). Why did God bring the animals to Adam? Aside from the fact that Adam named them, I believe it was to show Adam that no other created being was suitable for a mate but another human being. The way our society is going today, with the so-called animal rights groups, I predict it will not be long before some of those people will be claiming that they have the right to marry animals (if it has not already happened). "Animals are people too" is one of their slogans, is it not? God shows here that animals are not suitable marriage companions for human beings. Adam needed someone who was comparable to him.
God ordained marriage and the home by creating woman, the perfect mate for man (Genesis 2:21-23). He said, "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh" (Genesis 2:24). God's will for marriage and the home is that a man and a woman are joined together by God (cf. Matthew 19:6) in marriage for as long as they both are living. If one of them dies, then the remaining one is free to remarry (Romans 7:1-2; 1 Corinthians 7:39) provided they marry someone who themselves is free to marry. (See also, Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage).
THEY WERE NOT ASHAMED
It is interesting that in verse 25 the Bible says, "And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed." There was no shame in the lives of Adam and Eve at this point. They would learn the lesson that sin brings shame, but at this point there was no shame because there was no sin. There is nothing wrong with a husband and a wife seeing each other naked. The Hebrew writer said, "Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge" (Hebrews 13:4). Marriage is honorable. The sexual union between a husband and wife is pure and acceptable to God (1 Corinthians 7:3). In fact, we can safely say that the sexual union between a husband and a wife is one of the ways God has given them to express their love for each other. It is when people ignore God's will for marriage and the home that sin and shame result.
What a perfect world it was. What a perfect life. No doubt, had Adam and Eve continued to live a life of obedience to God's will, they could have lived forever in this paradise. But this is not what happened.
Genesis chapter three begins with these words: "Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which Yahweh God had made." We do not know too much about the "serpent" from this passage alone. However, we are fortunate that we have further revelation from God concerning him. The word "cunning" gives us some insight as to the character of this being called "the serpent." The word cunning means, "shrewd, crafty, sly" (Brown-Driver-Briggs' Hebrew Definitions). The apostle Paul referred to this when he said, "But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ." (2 Corinthians 11:3). So Paul said that the serpent was crafty. His purpose was and is to corrupt the minds of human beings which leads to their separation from God.
But who is this serpent? The answer is found in the book of Revelation: "So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him" (Revelation 12:9; see also Revelation 20:2). The being who tempted Eve in the garden of Eden so many years ago is the Devil, which means a false accuser; a slanderer. His other name is Satan which means adversary. It was this same being that tempted Jesus in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11). He is the one who sows tares among the good seed (Matthew 13:37-39). He is the one who was a murderer from the beginning and who is a liar and the father of it (John 8:44). He is the one who put it into the heart of Judas to betray Jesus (John 13:2). He is the one who oppresses people (Acts 10:38). He is the one whose "wiles" we must stand against by using the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:11). He puts snares before us and takes us captive (1 Timothy 3:7 2 Timothy 2:26). He had the power of death (Hebrews 2:14). He is always seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8)
But there is good news: We can resist him (James 4:7); "The Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil" (1 John 3:8); he will be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone to be tormented day and night forever (Revelation 20:10; Matthew 25:41). This is the terrible deceiver who tempted Eve in the garden.
There has been much speculation as to whether the serpent was an animal that Satan took possession of or whether Satan just took the form of a serpent. Looking at the context yields no definite answer to this question. However, we do have an example of demons taking possession of animals (Matthew 8:28-32). We have examples of spirit beings (which Satan is) taking possession of human beings (Matthew 4:24; 8:16, 28, 33; 9:32 etc...). Satan evidently had the power to possess and use a serpent in the temptation.
THE SERPENTS QUESTION
The last part of verse one of Genesis chapter three records a question that the serpent ask Eve: "Has God indeed said, 'you shall not eat of every tree of the garden?'" Evidently Satan knew what God had commanded Adam and Eve in regard to the trees. He knew that God had told them not to eat the fruit of one specific tree. He saw this as his opportunity to make that which was "very good" into something that was very bad.
The woman answered the serpent's question by saying, "We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat of it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.'" Eve knew God's will concerning this tree. She knew she was not supposed to eat of it's fruit.
We don't have a record of God telling Adam and Eve not to touch this tree. I don't know if that is something Eve added or if God had said this and we just don't have a record of it before this account. However, it seems to be characteristic of human beings to add to God's word. To bind where God has not bound or to go too far the other way and to allow where God has not allowed. This may be what Eve was doing. However, it certainly would be a good idea not to touch the tree and place greater temptation on ones self because the next step after touching the fruit would be to eat it. So, it would not have been wise for them to touch it. But we don't have any indication that God had told them not to touch it, except for what Eve said here.
THE SERPENTS LIE
Satan is called a liar and the father of it (John 8:44). The next thing that the serpent says surely is what Jesus was alluding to in John 8. "Then the serpent said to the woman, 'you will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil'" (Genesis 3:4-5). Isn't it something how Satan has the ability to just insert one little three letter word and change God's word completely? Here is the little word not. It is not uncharacteristic of Satan today to tempt man to put a not where God has not put one, or to take a not out where He has put one. When he does this, it has the same devastating effect it did in the case of Adam and Eve.
Satan here places God's word in question by making this statement. If Satan can get us to deny the validity of God's word, he knows he has us. If we let him influence us to question God's written word (the Bible) we let him gain the victory over us.
Satan also questions the motive of God. "For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." The implication is that God is keeping Eve away from the fruit because He doesn't want her and her husband to enjoy the knowledge He has. It is as if Satan is saying, "there's something good here and God doesn't want you to have it. That's why He told you that you would die if you ate of it."
This is the same way Satan tempts us today. Think about drugs, illicit sex, power, money etc... All of these things promise enjoyment and special benefits for us if we would but indulge ourselves. But Satan doesn't want us to know about the consequences of such actions. Look at the alcohol commercials on television. What is emphasized is the enjoyment of those beverages. If you drink you'll have all the women you want. If you drink you'll have all the social contacts that you can handle. If you drink you will have great taste and satisfaction. If you drink you'll have all the friends a person could ever desire. If you drink, you'll feel good. But Satan doesn't show you the hangover's. He doesn't show you the troubled marriages and relationships. He doesn't show you the car wrecks, dead bodies and the ruined lives. He doesn't show you the misery, addiction and health problems that come from drinking alcohol. No, he just wants you to see and enjoy the moment and not think about the consequences. This is true of every attempt Satan makes to tempt us to fulfill the unlawful desires of the flesh.
EVE GIVES IN
The serpent's arguments evidently convinced Eve. The Bible says, "So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate" (Genesis 3:6).
There are three avenues through which Satan tempts us. The apostle John explained it like this: "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world; the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life; is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever" (1 John 2:15-17). Satan tempts us through "the lust of the flesh," the "lust of the eyes," and "the pride of life." See the comparison in the following diagram.
Eve gave in to Satan's temptation. She saw that the tree was good for food. This is the lust of the flesh. She saw that it was pleasant to the eyes. This was the lust of the eyes. She saw that it was desirable to make one wise. This was the pride of life. Satan learned in the very beginning how to tempt men and women to do things that are contrary to God's will, and he's still at work doing so.
Is it wrong to be hungry? No. Hunger is a natural, God-given, desire. If we were never hungry we would never eat and we would die. However, God has given laws to regulate our hunger. If we don't control this desire it could hurt us physically and might even cause us to die. Is it wrong to desire to have sexual relations? No. That is a God-given desire. If no one ever desired to have sexual relations then mankind would not exist. But those sexual relations are regulated by God for our own good (Matthew 5:32-33; 19:3-9; Acts 15:20; Romans 1:29; 1 Corinthians 6:13-18; 7:1-2; 10:8; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7; Jude 1:6-7; Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:3-10; Colossians 3:5-8). The person who indulges in sexual relations, ignoring God's will, opens himself up for all kinds of misery, heartache, and physical and spiritual harm.
Is it wrong to desire things that are pleasant to the eyes? No. That too is a God-given desire. If we never desired physical things we could never do good with the physical things God blesses us with. If we had no desire to make money, for example, the gospel could never be spread throughout this world (it takes money to support missionaries etc...). Paul wrote, "Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy" (1 Timothy 6:17). Notice that God wants us to enjoy the things that He so richly gives us. There is nothing wrong with making money provided you do it in harmony with God's will. Notice that Paul does not stop by saying that God wants us to enjoy the things He blesses us with. Verses 18 and 19 says, "Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life." God not only wants us to enjoy the things He blesses us with, but His will is that we share those things with others. If we did not have the desire in the first place for those things that are pleasant to the eyes, we would never have those things to share with others.
Is it wrong to desire to be wise? No. That too is a God-given desire. In fact, James teaches us to ask for wisdom (James 1:5). But what kind of wisdom? Many people desire to be wise in that which will hurt them and hurt others. The word "pride" in the phrase "pride of life" in 1 John 2:16 is one of the keys to understanding Eve's desire. The Greek word is alazoneía and it means:
This shows us what Eve's problem was. It was not wrong for her to desire to be wise. Her problem was that she believed that this would make her like God. It was pride. It was the desire to show off what she would have if she gained this wisdom promised by Satan. This is the worldly wisdom that the Bible so often speaks of (1 Corinthians 2:4-7; 3:19-21; 2 Corinthians 1:12; Colossians 2:20-23). She knew who God was. She knew how wise and knowledgeable He is. She wanted to be like Him. She would really be something if she was like God! That's one of the reasons she ate of this fruit.
James wrote, "Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy" (James 3:13-17). It is not wrong for us to desire wisdom. But if the purpose of that desire is so that we can boast about how wise we are, or so that we can feel superior to others, etc... then that desire is wrong. We must desire the wisdom that comes from above, not that which is earthly, sensual, and demonic. Eve desired to be like God. She desired to be equal to God. She desired this wisdom for the wrong reason.
ADAM GIVES IN
These three desires were what led Eve to give in to the serpents temptation. However, she not only gave in to this temptation herself, but "she also gave to her husband with her, and he ate" (Genesis 3:8). It is one thing for a person to give in to temptation and suffer the consequences, but it is quite another thing for that person to lead others into sin.
Jesus said, "But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea" (Mark 9:42). Jesus certainly shows here what He thinks about us leading others to sin. Any time we tempt others to sin we add to our own sin. Paul wrote, "Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble" (1 Corinthians 8:13). Isn't this the principle we all should live by? It may be that what we desire to do is right in itself, but if it causes someone else to sin then I must not do it.
This principle must be followed in all areas of life. It includes how we speak, what we wear, where we go, what we eat and drink, how we treat others and our attitude toward everything. Paul wrote, "abstain from every form of evil" (1 Thessalonians 5:22). One of the reasons we must do this is not only for our own good, but for the good of others we influence. Eve added sin to sin when she gave the fruit to her husband. Was Adam innocent in this matter? Of course not.
The Bible says that Adam was "with her" when Eve ate of the fruit. It is interesting that nothing is said of Adam being there during the temptation until now. Was he with her during the whole time, or did he come at the point when she was eating of the fruit? Paul wrote, "For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression" (1 Timothy 2:13-14). Someone once said, "Eve was deceived, but Adam ate the fruit with his eyes wide open." The inspired Paul clearly says that Adam was not deceived, so this statement is true.
Now here is a question: Was Adam not deceived because he wasn't there during the temptation or was he not deceived despite the fact that he was there? As far as I know, this is something that the Bible doesn't specifically tell us. But in my opinion, the inference is that he was there during the whole time. If he was not, then there would have been no opportunity for him to be deceived. The fact that Paul tells us he was not deceived indicates that there was a possibility for him to be deceived. It would have been impossible for the serpent to deceive him if he had not been there. But despite the fact that he was not deceived, he ate of the fruit. He knew what he was doing. He let his wife give him the fruit and he ate it
There is a lesson in this for us today in regard to the husband being the spiritual leader in the home. It is interesting that Paul, in the book of Romans, referred to this occasion and wrote, "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned..." (Romans 5:12). Why did Paul refer only to "one man" in this passage? Wasn't Eve the first one to eat the forbidden fruit? Why refer to the man? Well, I'm sure it is because in the context Paul is comparing Adam to Christ. He is comparing two men. But it seems to me that at least one of the lessons we can infer from this is that Adam really shares the responsibility for Eve giving in to this temptation. He was to be the spiritual leader in the home. He had the responsibility to prevent Eve from eating the forbidden fruit. He was not deceived by the serpent's words. He had the opportunity to refute what the serpent said. Yet, he did not. He let Eve lead him into sin rather than taking his spiritual leadership role and leading her away from sin. We who are husbands and fathers have the responsibility of being the spiritual leaders in the home. We have the responsibility of teaching our children and leading our wife in the right way. When we give that position of spiritual leadership to our wife or someone else, we sin. That's what Adam did. He gave the leadership position to his wife rather than fulfill his responsibility of spiritual leader. In reality, he was responsible for sin entering into the world and the death that it brings.
How many times do we sin "with our eyes wide open"? We know it's wrong. We know what the Bible teaches that the consequences will be. Yet, we go ahead and do it. This occurs in our lives more than we like to admit.
Many people "live for the day." We don't worry about the consequences. We often do this financially. We use our credit cards to buy things we don't need, and say, "I'll worry about paying for it when the time comes." We know there are consequences to us using that credit card, but despite the fact that we know we're going to have to pay in the future and we can't afford it, we use the credit card anyway. We do this with sin too. We know there are consequences to pay but our attitude is, "I'll deal with that when the time comes." And when the time comes, we're not ready to deal with it or it's too late to deal with it.
We have already read in Genesis 2 where the Bible says, "and they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed" (Genesis 2:25). However, we see in Genesis 3 that after eating of the forbidden fruit, "then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings." (Genesis 3:7). Adam and Eve had once lived without shame. Now they were ashamed. That's what sin ought to do to us. It ought to make us ashamed.
We live in a world where there is very little shame when sin is committed. It is not unlike Israel in the days of Jeremiah. Notice what is said about them:
The people in Jeremiah's day would not listen to Yahweh. The word of Yahweh was a reproach to them as it is to many people today. They committed abomination and they were not ashamed. God even says that they did not know how to blush. They would not walk in the old paths and would not listen to the warnings given through the prophets. Because of this, they were taken into captivity.
People today are not any different than the people in Jeremiah's day. Very few people want to listen to God's word. It is a reproach to them. They have no delight in it. Very few people blush because of the abominations they commit before God. Very few people experience shame for the sins that they commit. At least Adam and Eve experienced shame because of their sin. Because of this shame they tried to make themselves coverings to hide their nakedness.
GOD CONFRONTS ADAM AND EVE
One of the things Adam and Eve learned and a lesson we all ought to learn today is the fact that we can't hide our sin from God and that we will suffer the consequences of those sins. When Moses spoke to the people of Israel about entering the promised land, he told them that they were to drive out all the inhabitants of the land. He said, "but if you do not do so, then take note, you have sinned against Yahweh; and be sure your sin will find you out" (Numbers 32:23). In other words, the people of Israel would suffer the consequences of their failure to obey God's will. The same thing will happen to us. The Bible teaches, "And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account" (Hebrews 4:13). We can't hide our sin from God. No matter how dark it is, no matter how secret it is, no matter if we are the only one who knows about it, God still knows when we sin and He must hold us accountable. Adam and Eve tried to hide themselves from God. They were ashamed of their nakedness. They felt guilt. They did not want to enjoy God's presence as they did before they sinned.
God ask, "where are you?" and Adam said, "I heard your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself." Rather than Adam saying, "I was ashamed", he said, "I was afraid." What was he afraid of? Was he not afraid because he realized that God would do what he said He was going to do if he and his wife ate of the forbidden fruit? He knew there were consequences he had to face if God found him.
It is interesting that Adam and Eve understood that it was shameful to expose their nakedness to others. When you have the opportunity, get a good concordance and look up all the times the Bible connects nakedness with shame (Genesis 9:22-24; Exodus 20:26; 28:42; Leviticus 18:6-19; 20:11-21; 1 Samuel 20:30; Isaiah 20:3-4; 47:3; Nahum 3:5; Revelation 3:17-18; 16:15). There are many today who will tell us that we should not be ashamed of being naked around others. That's not the message I get from God's word. I realize that the shamefulness of nakedness is often used figuratively and is talking about the spiritual condition of the people under consideration. But if physical nakedness does not cause shame, how can the figure be used in reference to the spiritual?We live in a world today where nakedness does not cause shame. We live in a world where a great many people seem to try to wear as little as they can get by with. We live in a world today where nakedness causes very few people to blush. When will they learn what Adam learned? Nakedness causes shame. It is not right in God's sight to expose your nakedness before others!
If our secret sins are never exposed in this life, there is one thing we must learn - they will be exposed on Judgment Day! "For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written: 'As I live, says the LORD, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.' So then each of us shall give account of himself to God" (Romans 14:10b-12). Paul wrote, "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad" (1 Corinthians 5:10). None of us will escape this appointment. We will all be judged according to our works "whether good or bad." We will face the sins we have not been forgiven of on that day. And we will suffer the eternal consequences of our sins beginning on that day.
"IT'S NOT MY FAULT"
Adam, like many of us today, was not willing to take full responsibility for his sin. When he told God that he was naked and hid himself because he was afraid, God said to him, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?" Then the man said, "The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate." We often say that Adam blamed Eve, but in reality he was blaming God because he said, "the woman whom YOU gave to be with me." The implication is, "if You had not given me this woman, I would never have done this, so it's Your fault." But, as we shall see, God does not allow us to get off the hook by blaming others. Was Eve at fault for giving Adam the forbidden fruit? Yes. Did that relieve Adam of any blame? No! He was still held responsible for his part in this sin.
We cannot blame others for our sin. One of the terrible consequences of liberalism in the world today is the fact that many blame others for their crimes. If they murder someone, it was because they were treated badly when they were young, or because they grew up in poverty, or because their parents abused them etc... There is no doubt that many people are greatly impacted by what happened to them when they were children. But that does not give them an excuse to hurt others. There is no doubt that government institutions have hurt people in the past. But that does not give people the excuse to do others harm and then blame that on how society treated them. We are all personally responsible for our sins (see Ezekiel 18). There are many who blame God for their sin. They say things like, "God placed this desire in me. If He had not wanted me to fulfill this desire, He would not have given it to me." They seem to ignore the fact that God has governed those desires in His word and that every human being has the ability to control their desires if they want to please Him.
When God confronted Eve, she responded the same way Adam did. She said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate." So it was the serpents fault. "The devil made me do it!" This is often the way people today rationalize their sin. Now, however, Eve understands that the serpent had deceived her.
How many people follow the same path today? They let Satan deceive them, and then they finally realize, after the consequences come, that Satan has lied to them. Some people cannot be warned. They have to find out for themselves. It is unfortunate that many young people will not listen to the warnings of their parents and do not realize that what their parents are telling them is true, until it is too late. Then, not only do they suffer for their sin, their parents, grandparents and many others suffer too.
GOD CONFRONTS THE SERPENT
The serpent had no one else to blame. He was cursed. I can't explain everything that is involved in this curse, however it seems to me that there is more spiritual than physical application that should be made here. Verse 14 clearly says that the serpent was cursed and that it would go on its belly and eat dust all the days of its life. But the same is true of Satan spiritually. He is the lowest of the low. The one who was cast down. The one who is cursed above all others. Jesus said that hell was prepared for him and his angels (Matthew 25:41). The Devil has no hope. His destiny is determined (Jude 1:6).
"Enmity" is "hostility" or "deep rooted hatred" (Webster's; Easton's Bible Dictionary). This enmity would exist between the serpent and the woman and between the serpent's seed and the woman's seed. This enmity clearly shows Satan’s hatred of mankind. Jesus pointed out to the Pharisees that Satan was a murderer from the beginning (John 8:44). Satan’s intent with the woman in Genesis 3 was not to make her happy, nor to open her eyes, nor to make her like God. His intent was to kill her. He knew that if she ate of the fruit, she would surely die just as God had promised. Her acceptance of Satan’s lie resulted in her death. Satan was successful on that occasion. This sets the stage for how the devil operates and thinks toward mankind. He hates (has enmity toward) all human beings and desires to kill us. The devil has already demonstrated enmity toward the woman, and from that point on he would continue to show such enmity toward all mankind. He wants all of us to suffer death, both physical and spiritual (1 Peter 5:8; Ephesians 6:10-17; Luke 8:12; Revelation 2:10; 12:9-17).
After Eve understood that Satan had deceived her, she no longer followed him. In fact, enmity existed on Eve's part toward Satan from that point on. Genesis 4:1 and 4:25 help us see that Eve believed that God had blessed her with her sons Cain and Seth. I believe these two passages are a key in understanding the next phrase in verse 15 (the seed of Satan and the seed of the woman).
In Genesis 4:1 Eve said, "...I have acquired a man from Yahweh." She believed in God and believed that God had blessed her. Between verse one and verse twenty five of Genesis chapter four we have the record of Cain murdering his brother Abel. Cain followed Satan in rebelling against God (Hebrews 11:4; 1 John 3:12; Jude 1:11). Satan was his father. He was Satan's seed.
When Seth was born, he took the place of Abel who was a righteous person (Matthew 23:35; Hebrews 11:4; 1 John 3:12). He was the seed of the woman. In fact, notice what Eve said in verse 25: "...for God has appointed another seed for me instead of Able, whom Cain killed." For whom was the seed God had appointed? "For me," Eve says. Seth was the seed of the woman. It was through Seth that we trace Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and finally Jesus the Christ.
So we see from this that the seed of Satan is anyone who chooses to follow his wicked ways. It is those who are his spiritual seed. Thus, Jesus said that some of the Jews were of their "father, the devil" (John 8:12-59); Elymas the sorcerer was called "son of the devil" (Acts 13:8-11). These are the ones who are "the enemies of Christ" (Philippians 3:18-19). It is the people who sin and who do not practice righteousness (1 John 3:8-10).
Who is the woman's seed? Since Satan's seed are his spiritual offspring, then the seed of the woman would be her spiritual offspring. The woman's spiritual seed can be traced through Seth, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and down to Christ. The spiritual seed of the woman are all the righteous people who have lived on the earth and culminates in the promised Messiah who came to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8).
In the last phrase of verse fifteen God gets more specific: "He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel." We know the "you" here is Satan, but who is the "he?" It can be none other than the Christ who came to destroy the works of the devil and gave that death blow when He was resurrected from the dead (1 John 3:8; Hebrews 2:14-15).
The Bible says that this One would bruise Satan's head and that Satan would bruise His heel. Another word for "bruised" is "crushed." For one to be crushed in the head is to indicate a death blow. For one to be crushed in his heel would indicate a blow, but not a death blow. The literal application to this is when Jesus was crucified on the cross. Satan, no doubt, thought he had gained the victory over Jesus (Isaiah 53:3-9). He crushed Jesus' heel. Yet, when Jesus was resurrected from the dead, and ascended to His Father in heaven, he delivered the death blow to Satan (John 12:31-33; Hebrews 2:14-15), providing salvation for all people who would follow Him.
The Bible often speaks of the pain and agony that a woman experiences while in labor (Psalm 48:6; Isaiah 13:8; 26:17; Jeremiah 4:31; 6:24; 22:23; John 16:21; 1 Thessalonians 5:3). God told Eve that He would greatly multiply her sorrow and her conception. The translation of the NKJV may be hard for some to understand. Other translations give these renderings: "I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth. In pain you will bring forth children." (World English Bible); "I will intensify your labor pains; you will bear children in anguish" (Holman Christian Standard Bible). Eve's experience in childbirth would be one of intense pain and anguish.
Then God tells her that her desire would be for her husband, and that he would rule over her. The Bible teaches that the wife is to be subject to her husband. Paul wrote, "But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God" (1 Corinthians 11:3). Here is God's plan. God (the Father) is the head of Christ; Christ is the head of man; man is the head of woman. Paul further wrote, "Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything" (Ephesians 5:22-24; see also Colossians 3:18; 1 Timothy 2:11; Titus 2:5; 1 Peter 3:1-6). The teaching in these verses is not limited to the days of the Old Testament or to the days of the apostle Paul. They were meant for all time and every place. Evidently, when God told Eve that her husband would rule over her, He set in motion His will for all time. How dare we go against His will.
Adam had heeded the voice of his wife. It is interesting that God said this. Showing again, in my humble opinion, the fact that Adam had the responsibility to say no to the temptation and also to lead his wife away from that sin. God curses the ground because of Adam. He would toil all his life in working the ground and growing food. They no longer would have access to the trees of the garden from which they had evidently gotten their food. It would be hard labor.
The Bible speaks of this cursing of the ground in other passages. For example, in Genesis 5:29 where Lamech named his son Noah he said, "This one will comfort us concerning our work and the toil of our hands, because of the ground which Yahweh has cursed." Before Adam and Eve sinned, they had everything that they needed. They did some work before they sinned. Genesis 2:15 tells us that "...God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it." But now, it would be so much harder because they would have to grow their own food. And there would be problems with thorns and thistles.
God also told Adam that he was dust, and to dust he would return. This is speaking of physical death. We have already seen that man was created in the spiritual image of God. We have also seen that God had promised Adam and Eve that when they partook of the forbidden fruit they would die. That's what this is speaking of. The physical bodies of Adam and Eve would die and they would return to the ground. Thus, physical death is introduced into the world.
ADAM AND EVE'S CLOTHING
Evidently, the coverings that Adam and Eve made for themselves were not adequate. When the Bible describes the coverings that Adam and Eve made it uses the Hebrew word "chagor." This word means "girdle, belt, loin clothe" (Brown-Driver-Brigg's Hebrew Definitions). This evidently did not cover up enough. When the Bible describes the clothing that God made for them, it uses the Hebrew word "kethoneth" which means, "a tunic... A long shirt-like garment..." (Brown-Driver-Brigg's Hebrew Definitions); "a robe" (Strong's Concordance). The clothing that God made for Adam and Eve covered up much more than that which they had made for themselves.
We ought to let this instruct us. What we may think is enough clothing may not be enough in God's sight. We need to let the general teaching of the Bible concerning modesty and the kind of clothing that God approved of in the Bible guide us in what kind of clothing to wear, rather than what is popular at the time. One of the things that we can learn from this passage is that God wants his people to cover up their nakedness when they are in places where others (besides their mates) can see them. Let us take heed. (See Exodus 28:40-42).
GOD CLOSES THE GARDEN OF EDEN
God now closes the door to the blessings and perfection that Adam and Eve enjoyed in the garden of Eden. Man and woman had become like the Godhead, knowing good and evil. They now had to suffer the consequences of their sin which was death. God had to close off their access to the tree of life. If they were able to continue to eat of this tree, God said that they would live forever. That would not allow the consequences that God had warned Adam and Eve about in the beginning, their death.
God drove Adam and Eve out of the garden and placed cherubim and a flaming sword to guard the way to the tree of life. I know that other translations use different words than "drove out", but when I consider those words I think that Adam and Eve did not go willingly. Would you have gone willingly? Would you have left a perfect home willingly? They were at home in the garden. They had everything they needed and wanted. They had the fellowship of God there. They would have wanted desperately to stay. Yet, God drove them out.
Adam and Eve were now unable to eat of the tree of life and live forever. Now they would die physically just as they had died spiritually when they sinned in the garden (Romans 5:12-14; 6:23).
Cherubim were heavenly beings. They were placed on each end of the mercy seat (Exodus 25:18-22). They were placed on the curtains of the tabernacle (Exodus 26:1) and later decorated the temple that Solomon built (1 Kings 6:23ff; Hebrews 9:5). The Bible speaks of God speaking to Israel from between the two cherubim (Numbers 7:89) and often about God dwelling between the cherubim (2 Samuel 6:2; 2 Kings 18:15; 1 Chronicles 13:6; Psalm 99:1; Isaiah 37:16). Ezekiel often sees cherubim in his visions around the throne of God (Ezekiel 10:1ff).
These cherubim were given the responsibility to guard the way to the tree of life so that Adam and Eve could not eat of it and live forever. There was also a "flaming sword" which kept Adam and Eve out of the garden.
Sin is a problem for every person who lives on this earth. The only remedy for sin is the blood of Jesus Christ. We come in contact with His blood by our obedience to His gospel (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). May we assist you in your obedience to the gospel today? Please contact us at the email address on the main page.